SpirE-Journal 2010 Q2
Snail Mail: No more the poorer cousin of eDM
Most readers of the Spire E-Journal would receive Direct Marketing messages via at least five distinct platforms – phone calls, email, short messages via mobile phone, street intercepts and physically mailed items, playfully dubbed “Snail Mail.”
It has long been a truism that Snail Mail is doomed to obsolescence at the hands of electronic direct marketing (eDM). Instead, however, it appears that Snail Mail is seeing a renaissance, driven by a surprising factor. Low costs have attracted hordes of marketers to engage in email and SMS marketing, resulting in a consumer backlash. In many cases, consumers now actively block incoming spam mail, or at the very least delete it quickly, according it minimal mindshare. This has opened the door to the reinvention of Snail Mail as a premium platform for offering highly targeted direct marketing collaterals, sometimes bundled together with statements from banks or utilities.eDM and Snail Mail compared
While Snail Mail and eDM may appear to be polar opposites, both platforms have been influenced by similar trends in the way they are deployed.
The two platforms also share some disadvantages:
While there are commonalities, Snail Mail marketing is differentiated from its electronic cousin and offers certain benefits. These are:
There are also some trade-offs inherent in using Snail Mail, such as:
In 2009, Snail Mail’s general volume declined as a result of the global financial crisis which hit heavy users of Snail Mail particularly hard, such as the financial, property, publishing and retail industries.
However, despite this decline, the overall quality of Snail Mail DM has seen an upward trend. Supported by advances in CRM infrastructure such as improved database quality, Snail Mail is now being used more intelligently.
Lisa Watson, Chairman of the Direct Marketing Association of Singapore notes that “Given the prevalence of digital relationships, it’s easier to collect data beyond just names and contacts, and this enables marketers to increase the customization and relevance of all communications, including Snail Mail.”
Watson also highlighted the integration of Snail Mail with eDM. “More and more, marketing campaigns are using a combination of Snail Mail and e-mail, along with other channels.” She mentioned that while above the line media raises awareness, Snail Mail pushes the readers to act, and eDMs gives them a platform to respond or even to make the purchase.
Given these t